Parliament considers gambling ads - Tuesday 29th of April 2008

Parliament has “parked” the National Gambling Amendment Bill to thrash out the question of advertising for online gambling.

This comes after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) amended the Bill to include an outright prohibition on the advertising of online gambling.

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The Bill, as introduced into Parliament last year, would have amended the National Gambling Act of 2004 to regulate “interactive” gambling, defined as betting over the Internet or mobile phones.

Gambling is big business in SA, with gross gambling revenue (GGR) approaching R14 billion – about half of the countrys defence budget. The National Gambling Board defines GGR as turnover less winnings paid to players.

Current legislation bans all forms of organised gambling unless licensed. At present, only terrestrial casinos, bingo parlours and betting associated with horse racing are legal and licensed. Most are keen to enter the interactive gambling market once regulated.

Many South Africans are already gambling online and a number of vendors have set up shop in neighbouring countries to service that market. The Pretoria High Court in 2006 ruled that both gamblers and online casinos were breaking the law.

Veteran ANC lawmaker professor Ben Turok says the National Assemblys trade and industry committee last month “took a decision not to proceed” with the Bill as the committee believed “that it would allow young people to gamble from home and we are opposed to that”.

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Les Labuschagne says the committee believes

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